Line Out Music & the City at Night

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Inside Melody's Echo Chamber

Posted by on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 12:38 PM

melody_s_echo_chamber.jpg
  • Fat Possum
Melody's Echo Chamber
Melody's Echo Chamber
Fat Possum Records

After hearing the first few singles from Melody Prochet's debut, including the hypnotic "Crystallized," I feared the whole thing might sound like a female-fronted Tame Impala.

Granted, that isn't the worst place in the world to be, but the record bears her name and not theirs. Tame Impala producer and band leader Kevin Parker loaned her his Perth studio and contributed a few guitar parts, but she penned the material (she also recorded some of it in France). And, fortunately, she does have her own thing going on.

As it turns out, Parker wasn't always even around. In the press notes, she says she often had his studio to herself. Since she didn't know exactly what she was doing, she experimented, made mistakes, and learned to work with those mistakes. The results are psychedelic, to be sure, but there's more shoegaze to her recipe; less Pink Floyd and Pretty Things, more Lush and My Bloody Valentine.

Granted, it's a fairly controlled form of psychedelia, but I'm okay with that. Only "Snowcapped Andes Crash" and the reverse-effect "Is That What You Said" get extra-wiggy, but sometimes one or two stoned-out-of-your-mind tracks are all you need.

The closing number, "Be Proud of Your Kids," also breaks the mold with Prochet layering her gauzy sighs over samples of babbling French tots. It's grown on me, but I wish she'd ended the album with a more definitive statement. This bit of Alice in Wonderland whimsy might've worked better as a bonus track or B-side.

I also wouldn't mind if she sang the whole thing in French, but only "Bisou Magique" and "Quand Vas Tu Rentrer" call on her native tongue. Still, it's better than none (in that sense, she recalls Keren Ann, who sings primarily in English).

Random fun things: the "Funky Drummer" beat that underpins "Mount Hopeless," the explosions that punctuate "Snowcapped," and the Exotica-inspired cover.

I wouldn't say I've never heard anything like Melody's Echo Chamber before, but I would say I haven't heard anything like it lately. Prochet's first record evokes the halcyon days when Britain's Too Pure was an upstart label releasing albums by acts everyone remembers, like Stereolab, as well as those who deserve a higher profile, like Pram (a Prochet favorite). She would've fit right in with that roster.

Prochet plays Neumos on Sept 22. Fat Possum releases her record on Sept 25.

 

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